Friday, March 26, 2010

Hiding My Shoes

I totally knew what the interest rate was, I just did not care. I wanted the car and I wanted it right then and as soon as I found a way to get it I did. I quickly learned that I could do almost anything I wanted while he was gone. The term “living pay check to pay check” was not even applicable for me during this time. Pete was gone, I was having a great time in San Francisco and I did not even have to work that much for it. I scored!! I paid the bills on time, used my waitress money for bridging gaps whenever I ovespent and did whatever I wanted and the thought of saving money was not even on the financial radar screen.
When he did come back everything stayed the same as while he was gone except now we spent money together. I still did all the bills, we still ran out of money before the month was over, and never saved a penny. Pete never really knew what was going on because either did I. The most I ever did to keep track of the money was call the bank every few days to double check on how close to nothing we were getting. I remember never really worrying about anything because I could always pick up an extra shift if we were really tight and wanted to go out. I sensed Pete would be annoyed if I bought a lot of clothes or shoes at one time so I did what any financially sneaky wife did, I just hid things and hoped he would not notice. Not exactly a recipe for building a strong marriage. The thing is I did not know any better. I had been working since I was 15 and nobody ever taught me how to manage money. I liked having money and I liked spending money. I never really got any more attached to it that that because it never stuck around long enough for me to grow fond of it.
The subtle and insidious thing that was going on during all of this was the resentment that was growing between us because of all of this. I was not aware at the time but I viewed Pete as “not being a man” because he was not engaged in our finances (the silly thing is I was barely engaged in our finances). I thought he should take charge and step up but he wasn’t. All the while he was resenting me because he never felt like we had any money and he was bustin’ it on the ship and making a Coast Guard name for himself and I was nickel and diming him to death….oh how the love grew.

After 1 ½ years in Alameda things were about to get even more complicated for us. Pete got accepted into flight school, his ship was deploying for 3 months and I was starting the teaching program at University of West Florida. All of this had to be coordinated, financed and figured out the problem was I was still running our financial show.
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